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My son, the smart-ass

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Film
Original title My son, the smartass
Country of production Germany
Original language German
Year of publication 2016
Length 89 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Staff
Director Pia Strietmann
Script Michael Hofmann,
Lea Schmidbauer,
Pia Strietmann
Production Heike Wiehle-Timm
Music Martin Stock
Camera Eeva Fleig
Edited by Sebastian Thümler
Cast
  • Alwara Höfels: Deborah Höffner
  • Maximilian Ehrenreich: Jerôme Höffner
  • Adam Bousdoukos: Marco Schmitz
  • Barbara Philipp: Dr. Kathrin Laas
  • Heikko Deutschmann: Dr. Kleybold
  • Zoran Pingel: Said
  • Oliver Törner: Headmaster
  • Leon Ullrich: Class teacher Götz Potthoff
  • Regine Hentschel: Art teacher
  • Albrecht Ganskopf: father of Jan
  • Marno Quandt: Jan
  • Luke Vogelbein: Noah
  • Andreas Eckel: Treasurer
  • Alessija Lause: Waitress
  • Alexander Schubert: Galilei
  • Christa Krings: Secretary
  • Jana Voosen: Parent Representative 1
  • Melanie Adler: Parent Representative 2
  • Andreas Eckel: Treasurer
  • Sammy O’Leary: Kevin
  • Linas Mahncke: Boarding School Boy 1
  • Kian Schmidt: Boarding School Boy 2
  • Christoph Gottschalch: Physicist

Mein Sohn, der Klugscheißer is a 2016 German television film starring Alwara Höfels. The subject is the relationship of a single mother to her highly gifted son and the challenges associated with it.

Storyline

Deborah Höffner works as a bus driver in Hamburg. While she is interested in dogs, cat videos, musicals and fashion, her son Jerôme has completely different interests. He is afraid of dogs, calculates prices including discounts when shopping, takes care of his mother’s utility bill and observes his surroundings very analytically. At school he has no friends, is bullied by his classmates and sometimes not understood by his teachers. When Deborah’s friend Marco notices this, he advises Jerôme to defend himself against the provoking classmates, whereupon Jerôme breaks the nose of a classmate during the next provocation. This gives reason to present him to the school psychologist Mrs. Laas.

Due to a hint from Jerôme’s art teacher, the possibility of giftedness is also considered. Confronted with the possibilities of a “normal, but behaviourally challenged child” or a “highly gifted child”, Deborah does everything she can to classify her son as normal. She is afraid of losing her son if he were to move to a boarding school, for example, because of the support he is entitled to in the case of giftedness. She herself grew up in a home and wants to prevent this for her child at all costs. Jerôme overhears this conversation and manipulates his test results so that no giftedness can be certified. The psychologist nevertheless has her doubts and offers the possibility of an interview at a boarding school for gifted children. They visit the boarding school, but Deborah – unlike her son – sees no possibilities for Jerôme. They don’t even have French fries, spaghetti bolo or Coke there.

Jerôme tries to get along with his classmates, he also makes a new friend, Said, who helps him get on the school’s softball team. Said helps Jerôme when the classmate with the broken nose bone ambushes him again. This causes significant unrest among the classmates’ parents, who see Jerôme as aggressive and would like to expel him from school. Due to differing opinions regarding Jerôme, Deborah and Marco get into an argument, causing them to break up. Jerôme goes to the boarding school with Said without his mother’s knowledge and takes the entrance test, whereupon he is certified as highly gifted due to an intelligence quotient of 137. He himself would like to move to the boarding school, but he also realizes that he would have to leave his mother alone at times. Despite his fear of dogs, Jerôme uses Said’s contacts to organize a dog for Deborah. He also tries to find a new boyfriend for his mother by reactivating his mother’s profile on a dating portal and writing that she is interested in mathematics, astrophysics and evolutionary biology.

When Deborah finds out that Jerôme has been to boarding school and has also activated her profile with false information, an argument ensues between mother and son. Here Jerôme says that he hates his school, the classmates are all stupid and mean. He also says that Deborah is stupid. She says that he should not be allowed to go to boarding school and that he should not see Said again either. Jerôme then runs away. With Marco’s help, Deborah looks for Jerôme; they also go to the boarding school, but Jerôme is not there. There is a conversation with the director and Mrs. Laas, in which Deborah again expresses her fear for her son. Once again, the advantages for Jerôme are pointed out if he were to receive the appropriate support here. Upon her return to the apartment, Deborah finds that Jerôme is back. They seek to talk and despite her concerns for her son, she allows Jerôme to go to boarding school.

In the last scene, Deborah, Marco and Said visit the boarding school. Jerôme gives a lecture on astrophysics in English.

Background

The film was shot in Hamburg from 6 August 2015 to 9 September 2015.[1] The film celebrated its television premiere on 7 October 2016 on the German public broadcaster Ersten.[2]

Reception

Reviews

According to the Dictionary of International Film, this is an “[u]nentertaining (television) social comedy that doesn’t shy away from more serious nuances.”[3] Praised is Maximilian Ehrenreich, who “is [convincing] in the title role of the little high-flyer.”[3]

Rainer Tittelbach praises the film in his review at tittelbach.tv (5 out of 6 stars) and especially highlights the performances of the leads: “Pia Strietmann’s film always shows the painful process of detachment in a tone-safe manner between drama & comedy: dramaturgically dense, psychologically coherent, cinematically fluid, and there are some hearty laughs as well. Particularly remarkable: the child role is equal to the adult one in every respect and it captivates with its own sense; the boy is neither victim nor object for mawkishness. Höfels & Ehrenreich are great class!”[2]

Karolin Jacquemain says the film “shows the painful process of detachment between parent and child; it tells of being different and letting go. That it doesn’t lose its light-footedness in the process is remarkable for German television.”[4]

Viewing figures

The initial broadcast on 7 October 2016 was watched by 5.45 million viewers. This meant a market share of 17.9 %.[5]

Web links

Individual references

  1. My son the smartass at crew united, retrieved March 11, 2021.
  2. a b Rainer Tittelbach:TV movie “My son, the smartass”.In: tittelbach.tv. 2016, retrieved August 23, 2020.
  3. a b My son, the smart-ass. In: encyclopedia ofinternational film. Filmdienst, retrieved July 13, 2020.
  4. Karolin Jacquemain “My Son the Smartass”: not weird, but smart. Hamburger Abendblatt, retrieved 12 July 2020.
  5. David Grzeschik:Primetime Check Friday, October 7, 2016.In: ratingsmeter.com. 8 October 2016, retrieved 13 February 2021.